Cyclists

Catherine Conlon: The needs of citizens must take priority over those of motorists​

We need to begin reimagining streets as a liveable, breathable, social space and not another car alley.

More than 750 motorists were detected speeding on Irish roads on the Road Safety Authority (RSA) National Slowdown Day last week despite skyrocketing road deaths this year.

The mindset of many drivers to their absolute right to dominate the road space in towns, cities, and rural roads continues.

Jason van der Velde, a prehospital emergency medicine and critical care retrieval physician at Cork University Hospital, suggested that the distraction caused by our addiction to phones and the large digital display screens in modern cars is also a key issue in road deaths and that mobile phone use while driving must become socially unacceptable. Dr van der Velde reports how he has arrived at the scene of fatal road traffic accidents to find victims holding a phone.

"You can throw as much legislation at this as you’d like but until it’s socially unacceptable to interact with somebody on a phone while you’re driving it will not change," he said.

As motorists were reported to be clocking up to 194km/h on one road near Castlemartyr in East Cork and another doing 112 km/h on the main street in North Cork, while keeping an eye on their mobile phones, what is being given sparse attention is the impact that the predominance of motorised transport on streets and roads has on the ability of everyone else to move around.

The perception that the motorist has absolute priority on the roads is one that has grown over decades since car ownership has become ubiquitous.

The RSA perpetuates this widely-held perception. In its leaflet offering safety advice to parents when walking their children to school, the RSA states that "research shows that children under 12 should not cross roads on their own. They cannot decide how far away a car is or how fast it is going". Really? Does this mean that children who are in their 12th year cannot leave their house to visit their friends or run around to the local shop for milk or bread? Or even walk to school on their own?

Dublin Cycling Campaign in a widely circulated translation of the leaflet suggests that this advice should be rewritten to place the onus on drivers where, they suggest, it belongs.

"Research shows that adults should not operate motor vehicles if they cannot avoid knocking down children."
Instead of RSA advice for children to wear high visibility clothing when out walking, the advice could be "motorists should focus on the road ahead and not be distracted by their mobile phone".

Instead of advising that parents assess their child’s understanding by asking them to bring you across the road, the advice could be "after some weeks, ask your children how much they enjoy walking or cycling to school". The suggestion being made by the Dublin Cycling Campaign is for the RSA leaflet to be reshaped to support the rights of children to independent active movement in their own community.

This ability for children and young teens to be able to move freely and independently around their towns and cities has never been more vital — something that we consistently underestimate.

Social psychologist Johnathan Haidt in his new book, The Anxious Generation, describes the well-intentioned but disastrous shift towards overprotecting children and restricting their autonomy in the real world that began in the late 1980s.

"Children need a great deal of free play to thrive. The small scale challenges and setbacks that happen during play are like an inoculation that prepares children to face much larger challenges later Unsupervised play declined at the same time that the personal computer became more common and more inviting as a space for spending more free time."
Who doesn’t remember spending hours in the local park with a book, playing rounders, climbing trees, or roller-skating up and down your street with local kids, completely unsupervised by parents or carers? Where have those days gone?

That freedom was lost with the predominance of cars that literally shoved kids, and everyone else, off roads as they clogged up streets and rat-raced through estates to chop a few seconds off travel times.
https://form.jotform.com/200913843322044?urlOf11=https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/commentanalysis/arid-41379523.html
As Cork city enters a critical phase over the next two decades, with a population that will grow by 50% to 60%, there are plans to build a transformative metropolitan transport system, housing, ambitious cycling and walking infrastructure and significant urban renewal.

How that change is managed and received by Cork citizens will influence both economic development and quality of life for all those who live, work, socialise, sleep, and play in the city.
It is an exciting time and one that warrants massive ambition in ensuring that the needs of all its citizens, young and old alike, are centrally positioned at the very heart of that vision.

In the title alone, Catherine inadvertently references the quasi fascist mindset of many 'Green' types - namely that motorists are somehow less than human, a type of untermenschen. Are motorists not citizens also? Or is that label only reserved for those whose circumstances allow them to travel solely by public transport, foot, or bike?
 
In the title alone, Catherine inadvertently references the quasi fascist mindset of many 'Green' types - namely that motorists are somehow less than human, a type of untermenschen. Are motorists not citizens also? Or is that label only reserved for those whose circumstances allow them to travel solely by public transport, foot, or bike?
Try having a stroll on the South Ring and see how equal things are.
 
In the title alone, Catherine inadvertently references the quasi fascist mindset of many 'Green' types - namely that motorists are somehow less than human, a type of untermenschen. Are motorists not citizens also? Or is that label only reserved for those whose circumstances allow them to travel solely by public transport, foot, or bike?
God forbid that we make life safer and healthier for everybody as well as a better environment.

Motorists can also be cyclists and pedestrians.
 
Sums up cyclist attitude in one imho. Who in their right mind would even think about having a stroll on the South Ring Road? What mindset would you actually require for that to enter your head?
It is in response to this:
In the title alone, Catherine inadvertently references the quasi fascist mindset of many 'Green' types - namely that motorists are somehow less than human, a type of untermenschen. Are motorists not citizens also? Or is that label only reserved for those whose circumstances allow them to travel solely by public transport, foot, or bike?

On the South Ring, everyone but motorists are untermenschen.

If you're living in rural Ireland and don't have a car, you're fairly fucked.

This is the reality today:
1714046260971.png

The balance on Ireland's roads and streets is currently massively skewed towards motorists. Lot of folk on here neither see that reality nor understand the major negative consequences on Ireland's health, wealth, environment and society.

That lady is calling out for a rebalancing, but apparently that's akin to labelling motorists as untermench. Considering the existing biases in Ireland's built environment that's...not sensible.
 
EVENT GUIDE - HIGHLIGHT
The Horgan Brothers: Princes Of The Picture Theatre
Triskel Arts Centre, Tobin St.

30th May 2024 @ 6:30 pm
More info..

Danny Dineen

Dwyers Of Cork, Tomorrow @ 9:30pm

More events ▼
Top